Elementary school students need encouragement to get through the day just as much as adults do—sometimes even more so. And one lunch lady knew that.

Every morning, Stacey Truman, who has worked as a lunch lady at Kingston Elementary School in Virginia Beach for the past nine years, sits down at her desk and writes various motivating messages on bananas with a black marker.

From “Be a great friend,” to “Follow your dreams,” and “Show and share your worth,” she makes sure each banana says something positive in case a student is having a bad day and needs a little pick me up.

She gathers all her motivating bananas and gets them ready to be handed out during lunch.

“I want them to succeed in life and have an awesome day at school,” Stacey says. “Whenever I can put a smile on all of those little faces, I’ve done my job.”

The students absolutely love getting their bananas with messages on them—“talking bananas,” as they call them.

She got the idea to start doing it for the whole school after she began doing it for her two daughters and sneaking “talking bananas” into their lunch boxes. She figured since it was such a hit with them, it might help others too.

“She’s helped the kids to make healthier choices,” said the school’s principal, Sharon Shewbridge. “But it’s more than that. Stacey genuinely cares and wants them to know they are loved. What I especially appreciate is that she does this without being directed or asked.”

Image of bananas with quotes on themWTKR

Besides her extra efforts at her job, Stacey drives an hour each way to work every day, leaving as early as 4:45 a.m. to make sure she’s the first one at the school to open the doors and get ready for the day.

Besides her colleagues and students appreciating her going the extra mile, so does fruit company Dole. When they heard of Stacey’s “talking bananas,” they decided to donate 540 bananas to the school (one for every student).

It can be tough to come up with so many unique phrases to write on her bananas, but she always manages to make each one unique. Some of her favorite sayings? “Shoot for the moon—if you miss, you’ll end up with the stars.” She also loves: “Dream big,” “Be yourself” and “Laughter heals hurt.”

“To see the kids’ faces light up when they choose their bananas is my reward,” said Truman. “And now, kids who bring lunches from home are coming in with talking bananas from their parents. I really love that.”

Stacey’s efforts don’t go unnoticed—just watch her receive an award with a People Taking Action award, as well as a check for doing what she does in this video below!

Such a simple way to make a child’s day! We absolutely love the idea of “talking bananas” and hope this fun trend extends to other elementary schools. What do you think of this sweet gesture by this dedicated lunch lady?